Prices of daily essentials like pulses, beaten rice and edible oil have started to rise in the Kathmandu valley following global market trends. A number of wholesalers have already jacked up their prices while others have informed retailers that the prices would go up.
Pulses have become dearer by Rs20-35 per kg over the month since the earthquake on April 25. Prices of beaten rice and edible oil have also soared and there signs that they will rise further.
Importers of cooking oil said that they were planning to hike prices soon as they had been incurring losses due to a stronger dollar. “We have to import crude oil by paying US dollars, and the greenback has been rising in recent days. So we have no option but to increase prices,” said Manish Agrawal, an oil trader.
He added that oil prices had been swelling in the international market too. According to him, soybean oil will be costlier by Rs2-4 per litre.
Kumud Dugar, managing director of the KL Dugar Group, one of the major wholesalers of rice, pulses and oil, among other essentials, said that pulses rose due to an increase in the international market. Nepal imports pulses from India, Canada and Myanmar, among other countries.
“As early rain has damaged crops in most parts of India, there is a shortage of pulses there,” he said, adding that prices could rise further in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Pabitra Man Bajracharya, president of the Retailers Association of Nepal, said that they had to sell at higher prices after wholesalers hiked prices of some essentials.
“The price of pulses has shot up and we just heard that oil prices are also going up. We have to sell the goods at the prices fixed by the wholesalers,” he said.
Stores in areas like Ratopool, Putali Sadak, Teku, Kalimati, Babar Mahal and Pepsicola were selling pulses, soybean oil and beaten rice at increased rates which they attributed to the wholesalers. Some of the retailers had stopped selling rahar pulse because of the sharp rise in its wholesale price.
“Prices of daily essentials are in the hands of some big wholesalers. A cartel system among these traders has been harming small retailers and customers,” said Him Thapa, proprietor of Bhagawati Kirana at Pepsicola.
He added that he stopped selling rahar pulse as it was very expensive in the wholesale market. “Wholesalers are charging Rs160-170 for a kg of rahar, and transportation price is also high,” said Thapa.
The government, however, has not found any rise in prices of essentials except pulses in the valley. Hari Narayan Belbase, director of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management, said that they had not found any significant rise in prices of essentials except pulses.
“Prices of pulses rose as India has tightened their exports since unseasonal rain damaged crops in many areas. That resulted in a short supply and price rise. But we have not found a significant rise in prices of other essentials,” he said.
However, he said that they would be mobilising inspection teams in many areas to stop possible hoarding and black marketing in the name of shortage due to the recent earthquake.
Prices compared (Per Kg)
Product May 23 Last month
Rahar Rs 180-190 Rs 145
Masuro Rs 160-170 Rs 140
Maas Rs 160 Rs 140
Mung Rs 180-Rs210 Rs 17 0 –Rs200
Beaten rice Rs 70 Rs 60
Beaten rice (taichin)Rs 115 Rs 110